Lock-Lah to prevent bicycle thefts

The finals of the inaugural Bicycle Bay Design Competition, organised by the police and the National Crime Prevention Council, saw (from left) Mr Inigo, 21, Ms Joanna Christie Lie, 20, and Ms Yanti Agustin, 20, winning the top prize of $10,000 and a trophy for their "Lock-Lah" rack design.

SINGAPORE - It may be called "Lock-Lah", but there is nothing flippant about this device which aims to tackle bicycle thefts.

The fuss-free rack with a round plate at its front to keep away thieving hands was the winning entry at the inaugural Bicycle Bay Design Competition, earning its designers the top prize of $10,000 and a trophy.

The competition was launched by the Singapore Police Force and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) earlier this year in an effort to curb the rising number of bicycles being stolen.

And the Indonesian team of Ms Joanna Christie Lie, Ms Yanti Agustin and Mr Inigo, who were among the five finalists, believe they have the answer with "Lock-Lah".

"We asked friends whose bikes were stolen to find out what they wanted in the design," said Mr Inigo, a 21-year-old technical specialist with Toyota.

His partners, both aged 20, are final-year product design students at Lasalle School of the Arts.

The team found that thieves often targeted front wheels, front shafts and seat tubes, since they were the easiest parts to take apart and steal, said Ms Lie.

But the round-shaped plate at the front of the bicycle rack they designed covers the front shaft. A curved pipe at the front prevents individuals from stealing the front wheel once it is locked in place.

In addition, a steel railing stretching from the front of the rack to the bicycle's body allows for the rear wheel and the seat tube to be secured together using a lock.

The competition's chairman Poh Kay Ping, who is also chairman of NCPC's transport committee, said the winning design was simple yet effective and cheap to make.

The best aspects from all entries exhibited in Friday's final round and other entries will be considered in the creation of a new bicycle bay for pilot testing, he added.

Bicycle thefts have been on the increase here over the past five years. Last year, there were 1,216 thefts, up from 1,137 in 2011. The numbers took a slight dip this year, with 637 bicycle thefts recorded in the first half of this year compared to 691 during the same period last year.

More than 150 designs were submitted by teams from various backgrounds, including students and professionals, when the competition was first launched in February.

Entrants had to produce a design that encompassed the entire structure of the bicycle bay - including the positioning of security cameras, points of entry and exit and construction materials to be used.

They also had to consider factors such as space constraint and ease of use.

The entries were whittled down to 20 and short-listed applicants then made a presentation to judges comprising representatives from NCPC, the police, the Housing Board, Land Transport Authority, NParks, town councils and tertiary institutions. The judges then shaved the entries down to a final five.

Mr Inigo said his team's win was "completely unexpected", and hoped their design will eventually be fully realised. "As designers, we're looking forward to seeing if our design can be implemented and used by the public. It's like we're giving back to society."

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